2013 Resolutions

 “For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.”~T.S.Eliot~

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”
~T.S.Eliot~

I pride myself on never, making resolutions. After all, when you’re strong, intelligent, and capable of all things, why limit  yourself to just a few things, right darlings?

Well, for one, you, or I may be all of those things, but 2012 has been a hum-dinger of a year. Let’s have a little fun with a few resolutions shall we?

This coming year I’m going to go whole-hog on the resolution train. I’m going to propose a list for you my sweet little peaches, and for myself.

Some of the ‘suggested’ resolutions may resonate with you, and others may not.

Come back and check every week or so, just to see how much meat is left on the bone for your spiritual-devil-may-care-self-improvement.

1) Eat less, make more love.

2) Do not second guess someone else’s intentions. You will only ever know your own heart, so get on with it. If you’re unhappy, simply move along.

3) Connect with others, not because any of you NEED something. Just connect. Enjoy being surrounded by the wonderful people who care about you.

4) Control your anxiety. Meditate or medicate, whatever gets you through the night my tender little dumplings.

5) Remind yourself on a daily basis just how far you’ve already come. You are strong,  you are capable, you are  freaking awesome!

6) Lower your expectations. Just because you see wonderful potential in another human being does not mean they will ever succeed in reaching it. Accept others as they are, and invite them into your life based on how they ARE, not how you would like them to be.

7) Fear – kick it in the pants. The best gift you can give to yourself and your children is fearlessness. Not crazy, stunt-person-put-your-hand-in-the-tiger’s-cage-fearlessness, but a fearlessness that let’s you explore and learn.

8) Believe in love. Believe in romance. Believe in lovers being  your best friend. Sweety, all of our hearts have been put away wet a few times, but it’s out there for you if you just believe.

9) Appreciate the world around you; Spend more time in the city. Take in the lights, the life, and the culture. Spend more time in the country, learn about where your food comes from, and how to do-it-yourself.

10) Don’t accept the gift of negative poo-poo from anyone. They can dish out whatever they want, but you don’t have to touch it. Simply don’t accept it. Reject it politely,with a smile of course.

11) Hug more.

12) Take up a new-old hobby that you used to love but got squeezed out of your life when you were too busy becoming a responsible adult. Responsible  can also be fun, flirty, and interesting. Do not be dull.

13) Smile. Hope. Dream, and believe that it will come true.

You may like my  little list, and you may think I have bats in my belfry. Whatever the case, I hope that you can choose one or two things to inspire you as the old year disintegrates, and the new year rises from the ashes.

Wishing you peace. Wishing you wisdom. If you’ve mastered these two things, then I simply wish you joy.

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To A Dirty Old Man

fedoraLeonard Cohen, you dirty old sod,

you’re ancient and withered

but the ladies still want your bod.

You’re dirty and you’re eloquent

and damned to be a saint.

Oh, my man Leonard,

you’re everything you say you ain’t.

For a Jewish, Buddhist monk

you’re irreverent and you’re cute.

Your lusty little secrets

can’t hide beneath your suit.

Your dapper hat, your crooked smile,

your second-hand physique

make modest older women wet

and then go very weak.

For lesser men with half your charm

you’ve left no words to speak

that you, our idol, Leonard

haven’t already given to the weak.

So bless you for your sharing sir,

may you travel well and safe,

and I wish for you, you dirty man

sated women in your wake.

 

Copyright 2012

Beyond Chutzpah

chutzpah

“Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have.”
~Aimee Mullins~

I have to admit, I am kind of unique in a breath-catching je ne c’est quoi way.  Or at least that’s what seems to be the case based on some weirdo who mimics my every post, witty turn of phrase and personal philosophy.

As an adult, I have come into my own through gritty experience, and the realization that no matter how much I may want it to stop, life goes on, even during the most stressful of times.

My humour, my kindness, and my ferocity have all matured organically as I put one foot in front of the other during this absurd journey we call life.

I can say the same for everyone else that I know and admire. My favourite guys and dolls have had their edges worn smooth like beach glass. Still they maintain personal boundaries, honour their own personal ethics, and  stand up for what they believe in.

They need not imitate anyone because they know who they are – most of the time. During those times when they’re not sure, they fake it, and that takes chutzpah. That takes personal style, finesse and courage.

No amount of reading the latest pop-culture-pseudo-spiritual tonic will help you develop into a whole person. Trying to be someone else (even fabulous ol’ me), will only delay your own fulfillment.

Quiet reflection. Deep learning. Never, never, never giving up. These are the things that will gently transform  you into a fortress of empathy and fearlessness.

 

New Year New Look

"It ain't what they call you; it's what you answer to."~W.C. Fields~

“It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.”
~W.C. Fields~

A few months ago, I wrote a cutesy blog about chopping off my golden locks, and my effort to  try to find another hairguru fit to be mine.  After two attempts with the same disastrous hair stylist,  I decided I needed to be bold, and search for someone with sheer,unabashed talent.

I booked the first available hair appointment at the  salon of my choosing over a week ago, and set out this morning on a mission; a sleek, sophisticated cut with some soft chocolate/copper lowlights.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, I came home today in salon-shock. I was actually terrified to go back and have the stylist fix it. What on earth would I do if it came out worse? Looking in my rear-view mirror, I thought to myself, “My head looks like a flipping Rothko painting!” Now that’s saying something.

I wasn’t sure whether I loved it or hated it. That in itself was unsettling. Afer all, I’m a decisive, know-exactly-what-I-like-and-what-I-don’t-like-kinda-gal. When I’m not sure of my own mind, I go a little crazy. Kinda like crazy-crazy.

I’m not a girly girl. I’m a straight-forward-down-to-business woman with a flair for being fabulous in the most charming way. Women like me who do it all, don’t have salon issues.  We have priorities. So, finding myself in the panicked way of the superficial and generally stupefied, I felt lost.

I called my mumster, and she drove in the snow to consult about my  dangerously extreme ambivalence. Even the word ambivalent irritates me.

Her comforting words were, “Don’t you worry. If it’s bad, I’m taking you to another salon, and I’m getting it fixed for you.”  I knew that I would be able to tell how bad it was by the look on her face as soon as I opened the door.

While waiting for her,  I read through my last ‘hair blog’, and went right to the last sentence, “That’s the rub isn’t it? Confidence. Confidence doesn’t come from a haircut, it comes from wisdom and experience. A good haircut doesn’t hurt though.”

Staring in the mirror, my mind drifted back to my time in the salon. I enjoyed my time there. I liked the stylist. The cut is terrific. She listened to my hair woes, and cut and styled it in a way to make me look un-sheep-doggish while growing it out again.  She made me coffee, and we laughed. She was a bit familiar about her sex life, and told me about a lover that could put her ankle over his shoulder and kiss her toes while he…ah-hem….you get the picture.

All I can think now, is that I need to find a man like that. After all, if he’s busy thrusting, kissing and contorting my body, he certainly won’t be looking at my hair!

Hmmm. A dose of my own medicine wouldn’t be so bad for me right about now – confidence. I stared in the mirror, hoping that by some beauty-mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-miracle, I would fall in love with my new colour(s).  I have the presentation of a lifetime to give next week, and I can’t walk in there looking like I’m sporting a paint  palette on my head.

My twisted-not-sure-if-I-love-it-or-hate-it-tiny-girl-brain thought; Keep the funk. Wear it like a crown. Blow their minds with pizzazz and confidence. After all, the cut is great. On the other hand, walking around mimicking Rothko with my coif takes confidence, fearlessness, and a touch of don’t-mess-with-that-one-she’s-got-guts.

Opening the door for the mumster, I stared intently at her features, knowing that in the flash of a nano-second I would know whether it was a love-do or hate-hair.

Love-do it is. Ironically, yesterday I read one of those annoying little sayings, “Accidental can be beautiful.” This certainly was an accident. Beautiful? I’m not sold on that. Striking and professional – yes!

I apologize dear readers, but I  have to stop typing now, and head out with my don’t-give-me-any-of-your-attitude-hair to find  a nice obedient lover who can help me do the splits.

Ciao.

Tacky Christmas Jello Salads

      “Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”~Doug Larson ~

“Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.”
~Doug Larson ~

When I was a kid, I never really understood why anyone would bother making a jello salad. My old, weird aunt would show up with something green or red, with grapes and canned fruit salad suspended inside. These salads, like coleslaw, were what I used to call ‘filler’ on the table.  Why bother if no one likes them?

As many of you know, as you grow older, and move far from home,nostalgia often gets the better of you, and you find yourself with jello salad (or other oddities) on the Christmas table because it wouldnt’ be Christmas dinner without it.

So, today I give you, just in the nick of time for Christmas, two tried, tested and true jello salad recipes.

The first is 5 cup salad, or ambrosia. The second is what has come to be known as the Christmas Fish in my home, an orange jello with pineapple and carrots all set in a fish-shaped mold (it looks like a giant goldfish on the table). It takes tacky jello salad to new heights.

5 CUP SALAD5 cup salad

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

1 cup mandarin orange segments (drained)

1 cup white marshmallows

Combine all in a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate up to one day before serving. Particularly lovely when it mingles with the stuffing on your plate.

***      ***      ***      ***      ****

TACKY JELLO CHRISTMAS FISHjello fish

2 packets orange jello

1/2  cup boiling water

1/2 envelope gelatine soaked in 1 tbsp water

1 cup grated carrot

1 can  crushed pineapple with the juice

Combine boiling water with jello and gelatine and combine well. Stir in carrot and pineapple. Place in mold and refrigerate.

To take jello out of the mold, gently dip the top of the mold in warm water and then turn over onto a serving dish.

These two little culinary gems will be on my Christmas dinner table for my Canadian kin-folk. They inspire laughter, and talk of our memories of childhood, when Santa was real, and snow was magical.

What if Christmas Was Every Day?

christmas church“There will be no peace in the world until it’s Christmas every day.”

That’s what someone’s Facebook post said today, and it got me thinking. My wee little gal brain whirred and came to a sudden halt.

What a crock of ….”. No. Wait. Not. So. Fast.

It isn’t a crock of diddly poo at all. After all, I’m the duchess of , ” Oh, isn’t it wonderful that it’s Christmas time. I must cook and entertain and spread holiday cheer like Tinkerbell spreading pixie dust.”

Oddly enough, I am also the duchess of driving, queen of the shabby salute, and assigning the label of ‘flipping jackass’ to any driver who forgets to signal, or hesitates more than two seconds at an advanced green.

Not during the week before Christmas, and the days between Christmas and the new year. I smile and laugh more. Not the maniacal laughter of a woman on the edge, but deep laughter. My smiles are more contented and last longer. I let people merge into traffic two at a time, and step in front of me at the checkout without telling them how it is.

When I surround myself with smiles and laughter, I smile and laugh more, which magically removes the jackass element of those around me.

Why? Because you see my darlings, Christmas is the one time of the year that my friends and I are in sync with our friendship priorities. We make time, spend time, and reminisce.  We smile. We laugh. Sometimes we even shed a tear or two, but in all of this, we feel less isolated, and more human.

This Christmas I’ve had many a peck under the mistletoe on my ruby cheeks from friends who have come to visit. Our visits have reaffirmed the knowledge that I already have. The pendulum of life swings, back and forth, from hard  times to good times for everyone. We all have joys, and sorrows. We all have wishes and fears.  Sharing them with one another makes it all more bearable, wherever that pendulum is. Spending time together  reminds us to be compassionate, and to love one another gently.

If this year is one of transition for you and you are feeling lost without tradition, remember that you are not alone. Behind tidy front doors, and proper smiles, we all know what it’s like to feel lonely, to feel lost, and to need the company of others, more so during the holidays than at any other time.  We need you as much as you need us.

So, if Christmas did live in our hearts every day, it may just make peace root in our own hearts, and grow, out, and into the world we share with one another.

Wishing you peace and wisdom at Christmas time and always.

Benefits of Overeating

      “Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

“Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

I bet you thought you’d never read an article sincere in its praise of overeating during the holidays. I’m not talking about binge eating, or eating food that’s not good for you.

What I”m talking about here, is using the abundance of the season to enhance your social allure, and mete out kindness via gastronomical consideration and the resulting silence.

It sounds almost too good to be true right? Well, it’s not.

This holiday season I have attempted this practice with success. It was a kind of meditative exercise, with little talking and thorough enjoyment of my meal.

When you’re surrounded by friends and having a great time, that’s the time to exercise restraint and consider your caloric intake judiciously.

As much as I love the get-togethers during the holidays, the obligatory show stoppers don’t really do much for my Christmas spirit, or for my tolerance of idiocy.

You see, if it weren’t for these events, I would be blissfully baking cookies in my kitchen, or quietly working away in my office, or perhaps enjoying a nice, long, snuggly lie in with my cuddly-wuddly-sex-pot-of-a-younger-man or perhaps a new-older-man-crush.

Alas. one must, at times attend unpleasant events, put on a good face and show up.

This is where the benefits of overeating can be reaped, and the motivation to burn calories sowed.  You see, I figure, if your mouth is busy chewing, full, or sipping a cold glass of ice water, it is less likely to speak the god’s honest truth.

Speaking the truth is usually not so refreshing in the company of mere acquaintances and tends to get you kicked under the table, slapped in the chops, or fired.

As we all know, Christmas is certainly not the time to be anything but painfully and irritatingly politically correct. I know that you wonderful ladies skirt the lack of authenticity demanded by said political correctness.

You  offer the world a colourful burst of candid truth-telling, unashamed honesty and the gritty authenticity that makes you so gosh-darn attractive.

But not at events that you feel obligated to attend.

In these situations,  I urge you  my socially desirable readers, enjoy every course and pass nothing up. Enjoy the cheese and dessert courses. Order a nice espresso and sit back, quietly meditating on the abundance set before you.

Nod, smile politely, and keep chewing.

At the end of it all, utter an enthusiastic compliment about the meal, wish everyone a merry Christmas, Kwanza, or whatever the celebration might be called at that particular table,  and then smartly and without fanfare, get the hell out of there.

I highly recommend the extra calories be burned smooching under the mistletoe, making passionate love by the fireplace/christmas tree/window so the neighbours can have a peek.

Wishing you a tasty, politically correct holiday celebration, followed by unabashed revelry and a dash of hedonism.

Buddhist Talk About Loneliness

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.~Thich Nhat Hanh ~

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
~Thich Nhat Hanh ~

This holiday season I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends and well wishes from family.

But that’s not the case with everyone I’ve spoken to recently. The holidays can be a time of deep loneliness, and grief.

Thich Nhat Hanh has provided us with a 20 minute talk about what it means to truly ‘go home’, and how that helps us cope with loneliness.

Loneliness if the Ill of Being

Peace & Wisdom

The Art of The Christmas Letter

"      “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”~ Bill Cosby ~

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”
~ Bill Cosby ~

Whenever I receive a Christmas letter folded lovingly inside a carefully written Christmas card, I take time, with a cup of tea, to sit back and enjoy the entire thing.

I marvel at what wonderful years that my friends and their families have had, and it warms even the most cold, cynical corners of my fabulous little heart.

This year, my darling younger cousin (he’s fabulous, AND single ladies – inbox me for his number ) has been the only one to send out a Christmas letter, complete with photo, and a string of accomplishments from his year.

I’m still waiting for the one from my previous boss, I look forward to that one every year. This year I hope he mails me the Austrian cookie recipe that his mom used to make for us.

I contemplated writing a letter this year, complete with photo and oodles of glorious details about my perfect life.

I even thought of substituting our dysfunctional family Christmas card with pictures of my kiddo, the pets and I, for a demure folded number with a delicately written one-pager tucked inside.

But who am I kidding? I’m not a delicate one pager. I’m a blood-and-guts-of-it-warrior-writer-of-truths-and absurdity.

Besides, this has not been a year for the record books. My Christmas letter would go something like this;

Well, here it is, the end of 2012.  What’s new? Not a whole lot. I did stick to my guns and take a year off of being in ‘relationship’ (with a total douche-sac). That’s been refreshing.

My kid is awesome, but I don’t want to brag too much about it or else it will sound like bragging, and you’ll all think I’m obnoxious.

My book; 20 pages and I’m done, but they’re kinda like the elusive last-five-pounds. It’s going to take some serious pacing, procrastinating, and a month away at a secluded writing retreat with no TV  and lots of wine in order to get it finished.

We did have a lovely trip south this year, and it was awesome. So awesome in fact, the police had to pile me on the plane to come home because I didn’t want to come back. Ten days of bliss out of 365 – a sad ratio of bliss:reality.

Le sigh, my french friends, le sigh indeed.

Wait, that’s not quite the ratio. Upon reflection I had awesome times with my mumster, including spa days, and many,many lunches out together. I enjoyed weekend get-aways, and even managed to save my bestie from going to the slammer during a night of, um, well, revelrie.  You don’t get to do that very often at this age. Yes, I guess 2012 hasn’t been that bad at all.

Spring found me in a great running routine, and summer out on the river paddling. Fall on the other hand held out a hand of caution and my athletic pursuits were halted because of a health scare. As a result, my new short hair-do is scrumdillyumptious though and brings out my breasts er, eyes, and gives me a realistic goal – growing my hair long again.

Every weekend I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the AGO, or sharing dinner and wine with friends, or tucked away at a cafe somewhere writing.  I’d say the ratio of bliss: reality is more like 365:365, after all, it’s what you make of it isn’t it? 

Next year you’ll be emailing me for my new address and passing out my new business cards. I hope. Continued, friendship-buoyed, hope – now there’s a reason to crack the champagne as the calendar flips into 2013. 

Put a few bottle on ice for me – I’m anticipating wonderful celebrations to stay in vogue beyond the December 31st/January 1st split.  Next year’s letter is going to be dangerously fabulous!

Don’t fret my dears, if your 2012 was as up and down as Lombard street. I’ve heard you, and enjoyed our chats over coffee, on the phone,and your emails. Not every year is letter worthy, but that’s what makes the good times so darn good. If you’re like me, you’ll use your ‘fallow’ years as  rich ground to grow your dreams, or at least use them to relax and rediscover the joy of laughter.

Here’s to creativity, love and abundance as 2012 ends with the warm, magical season of light that we call Christmas.

Jannie P’s Snickerdoodles

"You can't be sad when you're drinking champagne or eating cookies." ~ANDSHELAUGHS~

“You can’t be sad when you’re drinking champagne or eating cookies.”
~ANDSHELAUGHS~

Oh how I miss my Newfie pal Jannie P. at Christmas time.

She was famous for her fruitcake and her snickerdoodles, as well as her tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich dinners on days when I just felt poopy.

Given that I’ve already posted a fruitcake recipe, I’m going to share her snickerdoodle recipe.

Be sure to share these with a friend over a cuppa’tea and a good old chin-wag.

1 cup softened butter

1.5 cups sugar

2 eggs

2.5 cups flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon for rolling

Cream butter and sugar and beat in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until combined.

Shape into 1″ balls (or smaller) and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.

Bake at 400 for 7-8 minutes.

Don’t be afraid to take these cookies out when they’re still quite soft in order to maintain a ‘chewy’ texture. These cookies spread quite a bit so space well on the cookie sheet.